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Deirdre Mc Gettrick - Graduate Interview

Wednesday 26 June 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa McCarthy
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Tell us about yourself

I am the CEO and co-founder of www.Kuldea.com, an online furniture search and comparison website that connects people to products and retailers across the entire market in one place. I like to think of Kuldea as “Skyscanner for furniture”. Having originally studied Law & Accounting in UL, class of 2009, I moved to London working as Vice President on the Leveraged & Acquisition Finance team at HSBC prior to starting my own business.

Tell a little about your background. How did you come to attend UL?

Growing up I was all about sports and the reputation of UL was unprecedented in terms of the sporting facilities. My older brother had attended UL and spoke glowing about his experiences even allowing me to spend my mid-term visiting him in UL which got me truly hooked.

What brought you to London?

I got a position with JP Morgan for my work experience on coop and this later became a game changer in my career ambitions. Despite returning and sitting my FE1 law exams, the finance bug had bitten and I longed for the fast paced trading floor environment I had experienced. From a young age working in my Dad’s business I developed a passion for business and finance brought me close to many varied business operating models and built up my analytical skills.

The world of furniture seems a long way from the world of finance?

Haha everyone says this, but since a very young age I have loved interior designs. Working with my Dad fitting blinds was a catalyst allowing me to see lots of different houses and interiors around my town. I used to paw over home styling magazines and design my own rooms with cut-outs from the Argos catalogue. So whilst I always had a passion for interior design, I feel like I cut my teeth in the finance world building up all the skills I needed to found Kuldea.

With fellow UL graduates at a UL Alumni London Event earlier this year

What exactly does Kuldea do?

Kuldea enables consumers to search for furniture products across all retailers in the market on the one website. When a consumer finds the perfect product, Kuldea then links the consumer through to the retailer to complete the purchase. Along the way the consumer can read top tips articles informing them of key considerations for purchasing furniture or be inspired through collaborations on home interior styles and trends with retailers under the inspiration section. Most importantly, Kuldea is completely unbiased and always returns results in a neutral manner. Kuldea will never compromise on the integrity of our consumer promise to be neutral.

What inspired you to found Kuldea?

Kuldea was born out of my frustration when furnishing my apartment back in early 2017. I found it extremely difficult to find the products I wanted as I kept finding the same retailers with big marketing budgets on google. I continually asked my now fiancé “Why isn’t there an aggregator?” so that I could search all the products in the market from all furniture retailers to find that perfect item I saw on Instagram, in a restaurant, in a magazine etc,..

 

Sounds like a common problem for many people?

Indeed it is, research shows 90% of people begin their search for furniture online and if you are only searching a small percentage of retailers in the market, you may be missing out on a better product, at a better price, in a style or with functionality more suited to your needs.  Women are predominately the decision makers when purchasing furniture and they want the perfect item for their home, it’s a big ticket purchase so people are willing to spend time searching for the right item of furniture.

What tractions has Kuldea had to date?

It’s going super well, we are still a young company, operating for 18 months now. There are 46 retailers on the live website at www.kuldea.com. We have added functionality to improve the search process for consumers with collection folders available to save, share and set sale alerts on products, gone are the days of multiple tabs, screen shots and emails of URL links. Consumer numbers and revenues are increasing monthly.

How do you make money?

It’s very simple, retailers pay Kuldea a commission when we generate a sale for them.

What are the ambitions for the future?

I see Kuldea becoming “the” place to complete your search journey for furniture products. Kuldea wants to make the search process for finding furniture as easy as possible for consumers saving them time and eliminating the frustration.

How did your time in UL help prepare you for your career?

So many ways but the ones that stand out include clear role models, I had a mix of female lecturers who were high achievers and very aspirational. Indeed, all my lecturers had relevant industry experience enabling them to back up theory with real life. I also remember their willingness to give personal time to speak to me and give career advice. Finally, the real life experience from coop, opened my eyes to the opportunities available in the world much sooner. Having work experience from a renowned brand all organised from the career’s office was a game changer when I went to apply for a full time job.

What do you remember most from your student years? 

Playing badminton in the sports arena, the colourful tights of my EU law lecturer Patrica Conlon, dinners watching re-runs of home & away seen earlier that lunchtime, and of course the odd trip to the lodge

 

 

We love to hear about the accomplishments of our alumni.

If you have any stories or experiences you would like to share, please get in touch by emailing ul.alumni@ul.ie

 


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